Somos – ‘First Day Back’ Review

Posted: by Colin

Somos’s meteoric rise began in early 2014, after releasing their debut full-length on the small but well respected independent label, Tiny Engines. Temple of Plenty, an aggressive but hook laden nine songs caught the ears of many fans that were enamored with Tiny Engines following the release of The Hotelier’s exceptional album, Home Like NoPlace Is There, just one month prior. 

Over the course of two years, Somos has concentrated on building a reputation on and off the stage. Touring with bands such as: Modern Baseball, Tigers Jaw, Transit, and The Starting Line, while also using their likeness to unapologetically explain their views on capitalism and the middle-east. With this being said, even if you disagree with the band’s politics, it should come to no surprise that their sophomore effort is an increasingly cautious and polished record that is more reflective of the members’ analytical personalities.     

As a whole, First Day Back is a subtly political album that is as smooth as is it contemplative. “Violent Decline” is a perfect illustration of the band’s maturation process. Micheal Fiorentino sings, “And on that day you will certainly find there are those welcoming violent decline. We have shared too much, we’ve made too many plans, blind in a wasteland,” before the song runs through an intricately layered, relaxed chorus. 

Exploring the album further will lead you the album’s most progressive track, “Alright, I’ll Wait”. As the album’s ninth track, it is at this moment that allows you to pinpoint what Somos was aiming for sonically. First Day Back favors slick, non-standardized song structure that is heavily reliant on experimental production techniques in order to garner a response from the listener. This is in stark contrast to the upbeat, chorus driven Temple of Plenty, and the pop punk genre as a whole. 

However, the same ambition that makes Somos’s sophomore LP an interesting listen is the same thing that allows it to be mulled over. A majority of the album’s core is so smooth, sleek, and polished that it does not demand your attention. An outlier track that gave an ultimatum or constructed an artificial crisis is sorely needed. Conclusively, the brevity of First Day Back means that a nonchalant listener could lose interest halfway through the record, only to be brought back right before it closes. 

Frustrations aside, First Day Back is a release with many strong attributes. Unique song structures and thoughtful instrumentation epitomize an album that ultimately, sounds fantastic due to Jay Maas’s production prowess. There is no doubt that “Thorn In The Side” will hold steady as one of the year’s best pop punk songs, even if the rest of First Day Back isn’t exactly what I thought it would be. 

Score: 5.5/10